Deepak Hooda has said that prior to the two-match T20I series against Ireland in Dublin, he had never started an innings in any form of cricket. But he went on to say that he was prepared to meet the challenge “like a warrior.”
Ruturaj Gaikwad sustained an injury while fielding in the first game, forcing the visitors to start Hooda in the first T20I. The 27-year-old batsman took full advantage of the chance and scored an undefeated 47. On Tuesday (June 28), he batted at No. 3 and scored 104 runs off 57 balls.
Ireland put on a strong showing, but India was able to stave off their challenge and win the series by a score of 2-0.
I Was Ready To Open The Innings: Deepak Hooda
In a post-game press conference, Hooda discussed his experience starting the innings during the series. He said:
“Forget international game, I have never opened in my life before. But yes, being a top-order batter, you have to cope up with all the challenges. If you don’t have an option, why don’t you go there like a warrior? That’s how I think. I was ready for it (opening the innings). Things are turning my way. Happy for that.”
After Suresh Raina, Rohit Sharma, and KL Rahul, Hooda became the fourth Indian to achieve a hundred in T20I cricket on Tuesday. He also contributed to a second-wicket partnership of 176 runs with Sanju Samson, which set a new record for India in T20Is.
The in-form batsman used a lot of hooks and pulls throughout his two innings against Ireland. He said, referring to his skill against the rising ball:
“I like taking on the short balls. When you go to Australia or play some very competitive cricket, guys are going to bowl at you there.”
We Are On The Right Track For The T20 World Cup: Deepak Hooda
Young Indian players were considered as having yet another chance to press their claim for a spot in the T20 World Cup team during the brief series in Ireland. Hooda responded firmly when asked about India’s preparations for the ICC match in Australia. He said:
“100 per cent the team is doing well. And we are on the right track (for the T20 World Cup). Being a youngster, we have to face these type of challenges, play tough cricket. Only then will we improve our game and do better as a team as well.”
In the second T20I against Ireland, Hooda was selected Player of the Match and Player of the Series. In two games, he scored 151 runs with a strike rate of 175.58.